Marine and Hydrokinetic Resource Maps and Data

Explore marine and hydrokinetic resource maps and data sets for the United States.

U.S. Resource Maps

This collection of marine and hydrokinetic resource maps explores our oceans' largely untapped renewable energy resource. If you have difficulty accessing these maps because of a disability, contact the Geospatial Data Science Team.

Resource assessment is pivotal to understanding the ocean's potential for future electricity production.

Nonpowered Dams Assessment: An Assessment of Energy Potential at Non-Powered Dams in the United States

The Nonpowered Dams Assessment, created by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, assesses non-powered dams across the nation to determine their ability to generate electricity. Non-powered dam electric generation potential is estimated at 12.1 GW, a potential equivalent to increasing the size of today's hydropower fleet by 15%.

Wave Resource Assessment

Mapping and Assessment of the United States Ocean Wave Energy Resource, created by the Electric Power Research Institute, assesses ocean wave energy potential along U.S. coasts. NREL supported the report and data validation. It found that electric generation from waves could amount to more than 1,170 TWh/year, which is almost one-third of the 4,000 TWh of electricity used in the United States each year.

Tidal Streams Resource Assessment

Assessment of the Energy Production Potential from Tidal Streams in the United States, created by Georgia Tech, assessed the theoretically available energy in our nation's tidal streams. Tidal electric generation potential was estimated to be approximately 250 TWh/yr.

U.S. Data Sets

These data sets detail the marine and hydrokinetic resource available in the United States.

Coverage File Last Updated Metadata
Wave Power Density Zip 3.4 MB 10/20/2011 Wave Power Density.xml
Wave Energy Period Zip 2.4 MB 10/20/2011 Wave Energy Period.xml
Significant Wave Height Zip 2.3 MB 10/20/2011 Wave Significant Height.xml
Wave Hindcast Zip 1.4 MB 10/20/2011 Wave Hindcast.xml
Wave Study Depth Zip 100.8 KB 10/20/2011 Wave Depth.xml

This project estimated the naturally available and technically recoverable U.S. wave energy resource using a 51-month Wavewatch III hindcast database developed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Prediction. For total resource estimation, wave power density in terms of kilowatts per meter was aggregated across a unit diameter circle. This approach is consistent with accepted global practice and includes the resource made available by the lateral transfer of wave energy along wave crests, which enables densities within a few kilometers of a linear array, even for fixed terminator devices.

Read Mapping and Assessment of the United States Ocean Wave Energy Resource for full details of the study.


If you have any questions about the maps and data, please contact us.